News Bleed: The “Scream, Vampirella, Scream!” Edition

Scream yet again… The rebooted third season of MTV’s Scream gets a cast and details. Hollywood Reporter

John Carpenter will tell us more Tales for a HalloweeNight this September. 🙂 Bloody Disgusting

The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will close in August. 🙁
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James Cameron goes from director to colonial marine with this sweet new Aliens figure. 🙂 Entertainment Weekly

Get some early Ghoul-tide fear with this teaser for Better Watch Out. 🙂 Movie Web

The Dark Tower is only 95 mins long. Seems short for a story told in eight books… Collider

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella is creeping onto shelves this Halloween. 🙂 Newsarama

And the Queen of Halloween herself, Elvira, is back in kreepy komic form, thanks to the dynamite folks over at Dynamite! 😉 Bleeding Cool

Comic Book Review – Vampirella #8-10: A murder of Crows

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for the Vampi goodness, Superfriend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Vampirella’s back and on the hunt! Dynamite Entertainment’s acclaimed mistress of the dark continues her supernatural adventures, running a gauntlet of murder and despair across an increasingly imperiled globe. A trio of demoness assassins – the Kerasu Shimei (the ‘Crow Sisters’) – have clawed their into our world, and are intent on building a bloody monument to murder, sin and mayhem, and it will take all of Vampirella’s considerable skill to send them screaming back to Hell…” (Dynamite)

This book continues shortly after the one shot from last issue, where Vampirella was recuperating from her wounds from the battle with Dracula and Le Fanu. The book picks up with Vampirella and Sofia on a stakeout, tracking a trio of gruesome murders where three people of shady character have been crucified, with Japanese Kanji drawn in their blood beside them.  Vampirella has been contracted by a mysterious benefactor, who she has yet to reveal to Sofia, Through Vampirella’s inner musing, she reveals that she is keeping her benefactor a secret from Sofia, to not bring her deeper into Vampirella’s world.  Vampirella reveals that as much as she enjoys having a human partner, she wants to get Sofia out of this life because the last time she had a human partner, it didn’t end well for either of them.  In these quieter introspective moments, we start getting a sense of how attached and how much Vampirella cares for Sofia.  As nice as that is, the best parts of these scenes are the insinuation of the mysterious benefactor’s and former human partner.  I’m assuming her ex-partner was Adam Van Helsing, who she had a nightmare about in the previous issues.  As for who her benefactor is, I have no idea.  However, writer Eric Trautmann has me hooked liked a caught fish, waiting to see how both those plot threads play out.  In the first seven issues, Sofia is thrust into this monstrous world. She’s intrigued and captivated by it all.  Now that she’s had time to process it a little more fully, as a reader, you can see her fear and so can Vampirella, even though Sofia tries to hide it.  I love how the writer hasn’t thrust her forward so quickly, to the point where she’s okay with all the weird crap she’s witnessing.  She tries to cope by referencing that everything Vampirella does in this volume fulfills every trope from the horror movie genre.  She uses smart ass commentary to mask her fears.  That’s something I would do.  I hope the writers keep using Sofia as a conduit for the audience.  The other reason I absolutely loved this volume of issues, is due to the fact that the villains of this issue spring directly out of the first volume.  The Three Crow Sisters are Hell-Spawn, who were able to escape hell, when Vampirella’s battle with the Yag-Ath Vermellus, softened the barrier between hell and Earth.  The reason why they have killed those 3 people is because they represent cowardice, the immoral and the deceitful.  This coupled with killing Vampirella, who represents insolence, dishonors her fellow Vampires and is disloyal to them, will serve as a monument to corruption. These acts will tether them firmly to Earth, preventing them from being dragged back to hell. We also learn that the masks they currently wear are temporary tethers to Earth and amplify their strength and speed.  They are very formidable opponents, but she ultimately kills them.  However, not before the big revelation that the Crow sisters know of Vampirella’s true origins, whereas, she herself does not.  She has memories from different origins, which in actuality are different incarnations of the character in the comics, through the years.  In the book continuity, she is not sure what her real past is.  This is similar to what Wonder Woman is experiencing post Rebirth. I like this story hook, as it allows new readers to familiarize themselves with multiple possibilities, without doing too much extra “homework.”

Fabiano Neves returns on art and once again does great work.  This is going to be odd to say of a Vampirella book but the car chase scene looked good.  The art really captures the close quarters and break neck speed of the chase.  Also, the exploded car flip diversion Vampirella creates with the car, looked straight out of a Fast & Furious movie, minus Vin Diesel’s monotone acting, while still keeping the beautiful women.  The female villains wearing Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta esque masks, looked creepy as hell.  And because the masks aren’t literally V for Vendetta masks, it never feels derivative. Since we essentially had hot vampire vs hot vampire in volume 1, they had to change things up a bit.  This is definitely visually striking.  I loved the visual of the crucified murder victims being on one hand being a darkly colored page, with his blood being the most colored object, while the other two were shown in black and white.  It gave the crime scenes a more mysterious, cold and frightening look and feel to them.  The page where Vampirella and Sofia are scouring around the abandoned farmhouse which is pitch black, and their backs are facing the “camera”/reader, is a quintessential horror moment.  It leaves you expecting and waiting for something bad or scary to happen.  That’s hard for a comic book to pull off, but to be fair, I may have cheated by playing a horror soundtrack as I read this book,

The more I read of Vampirella, the more I like the character and this book.  If you thought the story blew its load too early by using Dracula write off the bat, you’d be wrong.  I’m constantly impressed with every scroll of the digital page.  This character is under appreciated in the comic book world. If you haven’t read this book, or given this character a try, you simply must.  If you don’t, you’re truly doing a disservice to yourself and the genre!

Comic Book Review: Vampirella #7

(Submitted by our resident SuperheroScifi Stud, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)

Her name is Sofia, a young woman pulled into the maelstrom of violence and supernatural terror that surrounds Vampirella. She’s stood at Vampirella’s side during the terrifying battle Against the Lord of Worms, fought the blood-hungry legions of Dracula, and survived the clutches of the vile Le Fanu. But who is Sofia, and what secrets lurk in her past? Written by Eric Trautmann (Action Comics, The Shield) and illustrated by Walter Geovani (Red Sonja), this issue marks the transition to a new — and bloodier — chapter for Vampirella!” (Dynamite)

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Usually, I review completed story arcs of comic books.  However, on rare occasions, I’ll make an exception. As it says in the description, this story is a transition between the previous story arc and the new upcoming one.  Normally, these types of stories offer nothing of value to the story, or the mythology and are a filler one off story.  This story is not. It picks up right after the events of last issue, and we see Sofia helping a wounded and spent Vampirella back to her apartment.  Sofia hooks Vampirella up to  the makeshift intravenous she has in her apartment, connecting it to the bags of blood she finds stacked in the fridge.  I really like the inclusion of these moments, as writer Eric Trautmann points out how well prepared Vampirella is for every possible scenario. She has contingency plans and is not arrogant about herself or her prowess, despite her nature and enhanced abilities.  While Vampirella recovers, the story alternate between flashbacks and present day, to flesh out the backstory and character of Sofia. After all she’s been through in the first story, almost being bitten by Le Fanu, and helping battle the Lord of Worms, I questioned why a normal human being would stick around for more of this craziness? She had a terrible child hood, where she and her mother endured abuse from her step father, as well as being picked on and ridiculed in high school.  So I think it’s natural that she’d stick with a woman who saved her and who she saved in return. The other reason she stays, in this new world of vampires and monsters, is because she’s a vampire fan girl.  She’s a big fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I love that her recent experiences, seemed to toughen Sofia up, and encourage her to confront and kick her verbally abusive and demeaning boyfriend to the curb.  Between last volume and this story, you get the sense Sofia is Vampirella’s take on Mina, in Bram Stoker’s Dracula story. Sofia even mentions that character is her favourite in that story.  Even though Sofia, is a  fan girl of vampire and monster mythology, I’m glad writer Eric Trautmann showed her being flustered and overwhelmed by what she had experienced. This is a natural reaction, and one that would happen if this were a real life situation, no matter how much of a fan of the fictional mythology one may be. While Vampirella rests, Sofia searches the internet for more information on who and what exactly Vampirella is. She stumbles on fan sites, and conspiracy theory articles about Vampirella’s origins.  All of them are either off base, or wrong, which is great for the story conceit of keeping her origins a mystery to the outside world. Nobody tends to believe the credibility of fan or conspiracy theory websites. Even in a character driven issue, the mythology is moved forward when Vampirella wakes up from her dream screaming the name Adam! If Vampirella were real, I’d love to her to be screaming my name in bed. 😉 However, in this case, she was referring to Adam Van Helsing. I can’t wait to see how the presumed relative of the famed vampire hunter factors into this book going forward.

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Artist Walter Geovani takes over on art for this issue.  The art style is in the same vein (pun intended) as the previous story arc.  However, I feel this artist provides greater detail and close up imagery where facial features are concerned.  The art really does a great job of showcasing the dichotomy of Vampirella being as beautiful as a supermodel. But also being a monster with vampire fangs, and a bloody mess. Those scenes of Vampirella wounded and bloody lying in bed, were expertly drawn and colored, perfectly highlighting the beauty and brutality of this title and its main character. I loved the look of Sofia. She was vey unique, and stood out in her own right. To me it seems like their was a mix of punk rock/goth look to her. She’s got a more punk look to her in my opinion. The green hair was a really good choice. It looked good and gave me a momentary flashback to the female Joker in Batman: Thrillkiller.  The pages with Sofia searching the internet for info on Vampirella felt very meta, because I was on the internet on comixology reading about Vampirella! This book is light on action, so it made the image of Sofia kneeing her now ex boyfriend in the groin, all the more painful and exhilarating. Painful because as a man, every time you see a visual of a man getting kneed in the groin, you feel residual pain. Exhilarating because he absolutely deserved it. All the deferent covers for this book are fantastic, and could be Cosplay material for out very on Diana Prince. The one above is my favourite! Vampirella is without a doubt Bootyful! 😉

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One of the reasons I love this issue, is because it puts the focus entirely on Sofia. From the first story arc, I could sense that she was Robin to Vampirella’s Batman, Gabrielle to Vampirella’s Xena. So it’s great that we get a chance to sink our teeth into  her back story and what makes her tick. I look forward to seeing more of her, as well as where the rest of the book takes us in general. While you don’t have to read this to keep up with the overall story, you most definitely should!

Comic Book Review: Vampirella Vol 1 – Crown of Worms

(Submitted by Prince Adam, and enhanced with badass bonus #WCW pics by yours truly…You’re welcum, Kinky Hos!! 😉 xoxo)

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Dynamite Entertainment is pleased to reintroduce readers to the scourge of the undead, Vampirella – and she’s all that stands between us and the end of the world! Vampi’s back and hot on the corpse-strewn trail of her nemesis, Vlad Dracula! It’s a darker world for Vampirella, and something more sinister than vampires lurks in the shadows… something even Dracula himself has cause to fear! Collects the first seven issues of Dynamite’s hit ongoing Vampirella series, and features a complete cover gallery by Alex Ross, J Scott Campbell, Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, Joe Madureira, and others. (Dynamite)

This is my first time reading Vampirella. I don’t know what took me so long, but I can promise you it won’t be my last. (“Yay!! Welcum to the Dark Side, Ho-mie!!” -D.P.) The story is a vampire on the side of good, carrying out a quest to vanquish fellow bloodsuckers on the side of evil. The book doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of vampire powers or long standing lore. You could say the first couple issues plays things incredibly safe. If you’ve read/seen Blade, or Angel, you’ll fall into the trap of feeling as though you’ve seen all this before. Had the story continued down a “by the numbers” path, I would’ve been ok with that. This is largely due to the fact that our vampire hero is a woman. More often than not, the female in vampire stories is the damsel in distress, or a concubine. As someone who loves seeing strong female heroines in comic books, and as someone who is writing a comic book about a female superhero, it was an absolute joy reading and seeing Vampirella kick ass. And believe me; Vampirella kicks all kinds of ass, above and below Seattle, in a night club, and even in the recesses of her mind. More on that later though. Something simple that I liked about this book was it being set in Seattle. Vampire books I’ve read are often set in LA, New York, or obviously, Transylvania, so it was a nice change of pace to see some place different like Seattle. I also like Vampirella’s reasoning for why it’s easier to defeat a “new born” vampire. The reason being they are essentially drunk on blood. Vampirella spends a good portion of the first half of the story fighting these newbie vampires, who are under the control of Le Fanu, one of Dracula’s oldest and most trusted lieutenants. Her appearance, and the constant Dracula name drops, suggested that he was the main villain, and while he does have a presence in the story in a big way, this is not the case.
The twist is that Le Fanu and her hive of vampires have revolted against Dracula and worship an ancient evil referred to as the worm, or by his true name, Yag-Ath Vermellus. This being is older than creation itself, sired the very first vampire and is the source of their thirst and power. When Vampirella first comes into contact with the worm, she and the readers are taken into a dream like state, where she encounters a more “evil” version of herself who urges her and tries to tempt her into embracing and giving into her vampiric thirst. When she awakens from this dream like state, Vampirella is in a bit of a mental fog, and is battling to stifle her vampiric urges and bloodlust. I liked this development. It gave Vampirella as a story and characters some complexity. I like my comics where the character is both enduring an internal emotional struggle, as well as an outward physical struggle. Dracula plays a very duplicitous role in this story. At first he asks for Vampirella’s aid in defeating the worm, and when she finally agrees to put her animosity for him behind her, he double crosses her and serves her up to the worm, who possess her and uses her as a way to wreak havoc on our world. I liked that the writer didn’t blow his load on the Vampirella vs. Dracula fight in the first arc. Keep building up the full on fight throughout the course of the series before dropping it in the story. In the meantime, the conflict of this story is Vampirella against The Worm inside her own mind. I’m a huge fan of Inception and Sucker Punch, so for me, this was fascinating to watch unfold. In addition to that, we get a worm possessed Vampirella who lay’s waste to both Le Fanu and Dracula’s minions. Seeing how violent and cruel Vampirella can be, when she “lets loose” definitely makes you grateful she’s on our side.

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The art is by Wagner Reis, with an assist by Fabiano Neves. There isn’t a drastic difference between the two, so the transition is barely even noticeable. The opening panel featuring the Seattle City scape, complete with Seattle Space Needle looked great. The detail put into showcasing the city streets, and back alley’s was quite extensive. Even the back alleys and slums of Seattle looked so good, that I wanted to go there. Seattle Travel & Tourism should hire these artists. I’ll admit, I was a little distracted whenever Vampirella was on the page. I kept thinking how much she looks like our very own Web Mistress Ms. Diana Prince! (Awww…Ok. You get that raise you’ve been asking for… ;)) Hollywood needs to make an updated film and cast our beloved Nerd Queen in the title role! Shall we start a petition? While I’m on the subject, the imagery of Dracula looked like the actor who played Ares in Hercules & Xena. (Aw. R.I.P. :() Vampirella wore two outfits; One was a buttoned red shirt, with leather pants and a leather jacket, while the other was her traditional one piece leotard. I don’t mind her having two outfits, if one poses as her normal day wear, while her other outfit serves as her “hunting” attire. However, if one of these outfits is to de-sexify Vampirella for over sensitive stuffy people, I’m not okay with that. I thought we got a good amount of page time for both outfits. The worm had many forms. Two in particular stood out. In tentacle form, it looked like classic Justice League villain Starro. In his other, more apocalyptic form, the sandworm from Beetlejuice came to mind. If you’re going to appeal to my nostalgia, those are good places to go. The violence, blood and gore in this book, feature in appropriate amounts. There’s a good balance of decapitation and impaling. Neither get’s the short end of the stake so to speak! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) My favourite pages featured the fight between Le Fanu and Vampirella at the night club. It’s a clash of a more modern vampire aesthetic, with the old school gothic vampire aesthetic. Also, there’s a great moment where the entire building collapses on Le Fanu, and she’s impaled right through the chest, by a giant crucifix.

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Reviewing for this website is great. Not only do I get to share reviews of stuff I already love with you guys. I also get to try new books. One of those books is Vampirella.. This first story arc gives you a bit of mystery, a whole lot of horror, and a good helping of super heroics. If you think Vampirella is simply “Blade with Boobs”, you’d be mistaken. Definitely read this trade paperback for yourself to discover how awesome Vampirella is, if you haven’t already.

Ho-stess’s PS– Various Vampi Visuals. <33333333

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Comic Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four 21-23 & 30-32

(submitted by Adam…Thanks, Superhero Sci-Fi Ho-mie!! 😉 xo)

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“Reed Richards has found a way to travel to an alternate Earth in another dimension. Being the imaginauts they are, the Fantastic Four set out on a mission of ultimate discovery -but discover the Marvel Zombies. The Fantastic Four are being pursued by the most unlikely of enemies on an alternate Earth – the Marvel Zombies. And the only ally they can turn to is…Magneto? The Fantastic Four must join forces with one of their world’s greatest villains to survive an epic battle on an alternate Earth against the Marvel Zombies! Dr. Doom returns, and the zombiefied F.F. escape from their Baxter Building prison! The deadly debut of the Frightful Four! Johnny Storm finds out he has only 28 days to live! The zombified Fantastic Four break free, plus, an alien object Johnny brought back from the N-Zone begins to grow and will soon consume every living thing on Earth. Only man on Earth can stop it. And that man is Doctor Doom! The Ultimate Fantastic Four versus the Zombie Universe Fantastic Four!” (Marvel)

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The beauty of the Fantastic Four being sci-fi inclined, be it the regular Marvel Universe, or in this case the ultimate universe, is that the Fantastic Four can employ time travel and parallel universe, more often and more palatably then some other characters and comic book series. The book accomplishes both, while fulfilling the superhero elements. They’re stopping computer hackers.. The catch being, these hackers are threatening to cause a break in the time steam, by killing a prehistoric fish. As a result, we get to see The Thing, wrestling’ with a dinosaur. This was a very serendipitous moment, because I just watched Jurassic World, adding to my excitement while reading. Next, the story shifts to Reed having a holographic Skype-like conversation with an alternate universe version of himself. This was written really well. It had all the awkward funny moments you’d expect from such a meeting. In all that, you get a great character moment where Ultimate Reed tells Alternate Reed about his satisfaction with being a government tool, rather than just being able to be a full blown superhero. These moments were very Stargate SG-1 like for me. You also get lulled into a false sense of security that Alternate Reed is part of the Marvel Universe proper. It was truly a shocking twist, when it is revealed that this Read is, and lives in a universe full of Zombie superheroes.

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I was impressed with how easily I bought into this development. But as I said, when you have time travel, alternate timelines, and contact with alien life, why not throw zombies into the mix. What impressed me the most was that the book relies very minimally on gore for fright factor. It’s more the Zombies on the hunt that provides the fright. They’re grotesque visage certainly helps. There is a small group of people in the resistance against the zombified heroes. As the description said, Magneto leads these humans. Seeing Magneto fraternizing with humans is definitely not the norm, but end of the world scenario’s do make for strange bedfellows. I liked the fact that the Zombified Fantastic Four, or the Frightful Four, are intelligent. I’ve seen plenty of mindless Zombies, so it was refreshing to see intelligent ones, specifically one as smart as Reed Richards. While held in captivity in the Ultimate Universe’s Baxter Building, Reed would taunt the FF, scientists, and doctors, about how and when the Frightful Four would break free, and terrorize and turn the Ultimate Universe. That is creepy, and was written so well by Mark Millar. The horror element doesn’t end there. We have an alien parasite hatching inside of Johnny Storm, which could devastate and destroy the human race. We then have Dr. Doom coercing Reed Richards to swap bodies kind of evoking Body Snatchers, so that he can take credit for saving Johnny, and ridding the world of the Frightful Four. I really love the focus on horror in these arcs, because it is a call back to the characters origins. If you listen to Stan Lee talk about the Fantastic Four, he talks about the importance of the family dynamic, and that the Fantastic Four was his monster book. Both elements are present here. I was slightly disappointed in the fact that the how’s and why’s of the virus weren’t explained in any detail. I also felt a little cheated that we didn’t get to see a full on Fantastic Four vs. Frightful Four show down. They likely saved that for the ensuing Marvel Zombies book, which I will review soon, but it still would’ve been nice to see here.

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Here comes a cheesy pun, but it’s necessary. Greg Land’s artwork is absolutely fantastic! (HA!! Also, cheesy puns are always necessary!! 😉 -D.P.) The opening pages suck you into the book right away. He draws a scene that highlights how physically imposing a T-Rex is, but at the same time highlights the beauty of the scenery of the pre-historic era. Also, Greg Land may have been restricted with the amount of gore he could show, but he still made the zombie superheroes look scary. The splash page with several zombified Marvel Heroes, and the page with the Frightful Four finally getting to feed on some helpless victims stood out to me. Greg Land is such a detailed and clean artists. All his pages are beautiful. It’s a real talent in my opinion, that he is able to create pages with grotesque looking zombies, while still being true to his style. It should be a dichotomy but it works. The covers are phenomenal, Some of them, if it weren’t for the Fantastic Four title card, you would think they were full on horror comic books.

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This storyline was incredible. The horror elements never once felt shoehorned or forced into a superhero book. These two storylines not only make up one of the best Fantastic Four stories I’ve read, but gave me a super heroic take on zombies. What could be cooler then that! If you like horror and superheroes, or even just horror, this book definitely falls in my MUST READ category!

Ho-stess’s Note: Since we’re talking comics, this bit o’ gore-geousness was released this week. Reviews for Issue One are kinda miXXXed, but it’s VAMPIRELLA and ALIENS (hell-o!!! ;)), so it’s definitely worth checking out. 🙂 xo

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